Am I too old to start playing violin

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Parmisa said: Aug 11, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Hi. I just started to play violin 11 month ago and I’m 24. Now I’m on the suzuki 2, track 8, and on the middle of Le violin 2. When I ask my teacher why you teach me too fast he said you play these songs better than my others students and you can learn them so fast. But I think because I’m too old in learning violin he try to raise my hopes. I have little fault in fingering but I can’t output very well sounds yet. Is it natural to learn suzuki 1 and 2 and Le violin 1 and 2 in only about 1 1/2 years? Am I too old to start playing violin?

Thanks,
Parmissa

Community Youth Orchestra said: Aug 12, 2013
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

You’re never too old to start playing an instrument. That being said, as long as you have realistic expectations for what you can accomplish given the amount of time you have to practice, then you won’t be disappointed.

I love working with adult students…they are motivated, practice efficiently, and understand the value of time. The issue that they all run into eventually is that real life makes demands that chip away at their precious practice time.

I had one student start at age eighteen…the violin was a high school graduation gift. She was very dedicated, and practiced very effectively. We started with Twinkle and pushed onwards from there…four years later, she graduated having played in the university symphony, traveled to France to play chamber music in a string quartet, and was working on Bach’s D Minor Partita and the Lalo Symphonie Espagnol before moving on to her next career in law. Her goal in starting the violin was to play the unaccompanied works of Bach, as they inspired her so much when she first heard them. To me, she accomplished far more during the short time she was able to play the instrument than most of the students that I see.

Parmisa said: Aug 14, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Gene Wie, thanks for your kind reply. I’ll try to do my best and not hear what others say about my age!!…

Michelle McManus Welch said: Aug 14, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Viola
Lindenhurst, IL
42 posts

I often start adults older than you on the violin, They are playing for their own enjoyment, not to have a second career, so they are having FUN!

Michelle Mc Manus Welch

Laura said: Aug 14, 2013
Laura Mozena
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Palm City, FL
105 posts

i agree that you are never too old to start. If you are concerned about your sound quality, ask your teacher to work with you on some tonalizations and focus on tone when you learn new pieces. Also always review four or five of your earlier pieces each time you practice focusing on sound. And I think that the speed with which you are moving through the suzuki books is appropriate for your age. I woul dnot worry at all.

Laura
YMS

Parmisa said: Aug 16, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Laura Mozena and Michelle McManus Welch, thanks for your helpful replies.

Sylviane said: Aug 21, 2013
 20 posts

Hello Parmisa,
I am a parent so I am well over your age. I started playing violin along with my now 7 year old, when she was 4. I started violin not only because I fully embrace the Suzuki method but also because I want to experience myself how it feels to hold and play a violin.
I thought I was going to quit after a year… well… I was wrong.. I am still playing, my daughter is catching up with me. My only advantage to her is that I can read music better.. hahaha.. Last year I joined a local orchestra to play with other adults, and it is so much fun!
Never look at your age when you want to learn something, just do it. Make sure you pay attention to your tone (like Laura said). Don’t forget to go back playing songs from book 1, and polish them. There is always room for improvement. And play it from your heart.
Good luck!

Robin Lohse said: Aug 22, 2013
 
Suzuki Association Member
Violin, Piano, Cello, Viola
Souderton, PA
29 posts

hi I can second that motion. I have many adults who come to me for lessons some of which have not played at all or not since they were children. Its harder for them and then there are parents who join their children in learning to play as well. I call it a family affair. Often the parent will learn a quicker at first but once the child takes off they have a harder time progressing. Maybe the adults do not have the time the younger ones have to practice…Its becomes harder for them in many ways…The older the student the harder it is for them to deal with their muscle memories…..
hope that helps
Robin

Robin Lohse

Anita said: Aug 23, 2013
 38 posts

Parmisa,

You’re never too old! I’m turning 40-something-ish and picking up the violin for a second time. Made it to Go Tell Aunt Rhody the first time, with my kids when they first started Suzuki, but quit because they didn’t like the fact that “Mom could do it better” than they could. Now that they’re safely in Book 3, waa-aay out of my reach, I’m still interested and starting again. They’re my “home practice” teachers, and wow, are they strict! :-)

My daughter, age 10, remembered the “practice spot” for Lightly Row - F-D-A-F-E—and insists I polish it before moving on. Their private teacher requires they do the number of repetitions equal to their age; she pointed out I have to do 4O-ish repetitions!

I played flute and bagpipes in high school, so reading music is not the issue. At this age, it’s seeing my fingers—my close-up vision is going, so I have to rely on how my fingers sound, rather than seeing where to place them (tapes, dots, etc.). Enjoy!

AMB

Christine Faught said: Aug 23, 2013
Christine Faught
Suzuki Association Member
Violin
Fort Worth, TX
6 posts

I had a 50-year-old beginner student once, who continues to amaze me. She had SUCH a hard time for the first year or so, but she never gave up and she diligently practiced for an hour every day. I remember considering telling her to find a different instrument or something at one point (it was that difficult for her). I never actually told her that, and she never actually gave up. Now, she’s been playing in the community orchestra for years and has found an extraordinary depth of enjoyment through the violin. People who keep at it despite their personal challenges WILL succeed in the end.

Emily said: Sep 27, 2013
 59 posts

Yes, there is no age limit! I d also agree with the discussion regarding having “realistic expectations” though. There is absolutely no reason why a person of any age can not learn to play an instrument well enough to enjoy themselves, meet new people, perform, and more depending on the time one has to commit. Most importantly, enjoy yourself!

Emily Christensen
Music Teacher & Writer
www.musiceducationmadness.org

Community Youth Orchestra said: Sep 27, 2013
Community Youth OrchestraViolin, Viola
70 posts

If there’s any goal that I think every adult beginner can reasonably have, it’s to develop the competency and fluency on the instrument to to be able to play chamber music.

You’ll have so much fun playing some of the greatest works ever written (even the “easy” stuff is great music) if you stick with with it!

Parmisa said: Oct 15, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Sylviane Sutherland and Anita Barrios:

What a beautiful and exciting experience to play violin with your little child :) I have never imagined that some time in the future I’ll be able to play violin with my little child…

Parmisa said: Oct 15, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Robin Lohse,

As you said, I don’t have enough time to practice more than 2 hours a day. Because I’m a student in MA and at this time I’m working on my dissertation, but I try to use minute by minute of my practicing time. I don’t know 2 hours a day is good or not but I try to enjoy my times :)

Parmisa said: Oct 15, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Christine Faught, Emily and Gene Wie,

Thanks for your hopeful words.

Emily said: Nov 7, 2013
 59 posts

This has been a great thread, please keep us posted on your progress, Parmisa :)

Emily Christensen
Music Teacher & Writer
www.musiceducationmadness.org

Janet Poth said: Nov 8, 2013
Janet PothViolin, Viola
San Clemente, CA
5 posts

Congratulations Parmisa! You’ve discovered a path to lifelong learning. You actually practice for more time each day than most of my book 1and 2 students. You’ve solved one othe main problems that can derail an adult player (scheduling practice time). I LOVE adult students whether the parent of a young student or just an enthusiast.
Don’t be too critical of your developing sound. You hear every flaw close to your own ear and probably compare yourself to the CD rather than another similar student.
The best tone comes from a relaxed player and review is a perfect tool for that. Keep it up!

Kiyoko said: Nov 18, 2013
 84 posts

2 hours a day? Wow, you must be a pretty committed to learning the violin. The amount of time you practice is probably contributing to why you are progressing quickly for a beginner. Bravo!

There is no age where you are too old to learn an instrument in my opinion. Motivation and commitment matter more. A friend of mine has been wanting to learn to play the violin since I met her around your age over fifteen years ago, and she finally started this fall. I don’t know how much she is actually practicing, but I suggested she start out trying to do a half hour a day and go from there.

Glad to hear you are enjoying playing. That’s the most important part in my book. The rest will fall in line with practice and mastery, along with the development of your expression. All in good time. Keep up the good work!

Parmisa said: Nov 21, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Emily,

Thanks for your posts. At this time I’m at Vol. 3 No. 4 of Suzuki and at the end of the Le violin 2. I’m going to defend my dissertation and I only practice 20-30 minuet a day!

Parmisa said: Nov 21, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Janet Poth,

Thanks for your useful reply. Yes, when I try to be relax and to correct my mistakes after listening to recorded sounds of my playing at most of the time I play better.

Parmisa said: Nov 21, 2013
 Guitar, Violin
10 posts

Dear Jane,

Thanks for your kind post :)

Anne said: Nov 22, 2013
Anne SanchezPiano
9 posts

There is no age limit in music! You are still young and it sounds like you have great talent. I admire people that can pick up an instrument and feel natural while playing it. You sound unsure of yourself and you shouldn’t be. If you’re teacher thinks you
are talented, then you are, they have an eye for musical talent that even we fail to see sometimes.

Emmanuelle Bourdeau said: Nov 30, 2013
 1 posts

I am also a violin player. I started playing the violin when I was eight. I stopped playing for years. Afterwards, I decided to take violin seriously and I am now in college studying music and I am now a senior. I really like violin, it is such a nice instrument.

It is never too late to do good things. My violin teacher told me that he knows a guy that started to play the violin when he was thirty, and he has became a famous violinist.

Be confident in yourself and know that you can do it. And, this is so true, if your teacher tells you that you can do it, it really means that you can.

Do not give up!

Roy Arden said: Dec 2, 2013
 1 posts

I don’t think anyone is to old to learn the violin. I know someone who started at about your age.

Matt Brown said: Dec 8, 2013
 Violin
1 posts

Hello everyone;
Just wanted to say thank you to ALL of you and especially Gene Vie for his positive comments about the adult learners. I am 28 years old and recently bought a nice student violin; I always wanted to play violin but for some reasons I never even managed to start it. Now I have my violin and my dreams to become a good violinist but the matter of age has always hold me back from my only ambition, in fact its been a little bit sad that the only instrument I always wanted to play is now too late to start. I just seen this page and read all the comments (the 18 years starter and the student in his 30 an some other examples) and now I feel more confident. As a mature uni student I can have at least 2 hours a day violin practice along with my uni studies.
Hope this works for me as it is my only dream to become a good violinist; Well, if the others did, I can do.

Once again, Thank you everyone.

Kimberly Sullivan said: Feb 22, 2014
 1 posts

I love learning! Finally crossed the monkey bars at age 37-couldn’t do that as a kid-I was clumsy. Learned to swim at age 40-not pretty at all-but now I have it down. I’m pretty good at ping pong now too. Yoga was a “stretch” hahaha, but I did that too at 42. I’m working on learning German. Now at age 46, Suzuki violin. I’m moving faster than my kids. I’m to Allegro-I’m thrilled. We are having so much fun. Who knows what all I’ll learn in the next 46 years!

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